A producer is often the unsung hero of the music business. In the industry itself they carry great importance, and if they are good at what they do they can become legendary. Legendary is an apt title for Michael Wagener. While perhaps unknown to many casual listeners, he shaped a huge portion of rock and metal music from the early 1980’s up through the present day.
Being a musician himself, Mr. Wagener has a keen ear not only for tones, but for arrangements. Many bands have had Michael behind the boards helping craft their best known landmark albums. Metallica, Poison, Accept, Skid Row, Motley Crue, Dokken, Stryper, and many other prominent groups have relied on Wagener’s expertise.
I caught up with the veteran producer recently at the second annual RocknPod Expo in Nashville, TN. With a full day of interviews ahead of him, he graciously took a few moments to enlighten me on some of his philosophies. I will note that I was surprised he is not one of the old guard defenders of “analog is best” audio wise. In fact he embraced digital long before it was the norm. So take a moment and soak in some wisdom from one of the best producers of any decade…Michael Wagener.
Michael Wagener and Peter Harris at the RocknPod Expo, Nashville, TN.